Information regarding term time holiday requests
The publicity surrounding the Isle of Wight case a couple of years ago, regarding unauthorised leave during term-time caused confusion for parents, schools and local authorities in England. Essentially, the Isle of Wight High Court ruling changed the way in which Magistrates are required to consider evidence provided by local authorities for term-time holiday prosecutions following non-payment of penalty notices.
In September 2013, The Education ( Pupil registration) (England) ( amendment) regulations 2013 came into force. These regulations make it clear that Headteachers should not grant approval for any leave of absence during term time, including holidays, unless there are exceptional circumstances. These regulations also state that holidays cannot be authorised retrospectively. Any requests should be on an official school absence request form and handed to the school office for consideration prior to any holiday/ leave arrangements being made. You may be issued with a penalty notice should leave be taken which is not authorised. If unpaid this could lead to prosecution under section 444(1) of the Education Act 1996. The regulations have not have not changed and leave must only be approved in ‘exceptional circumstances’.
Since then schools have received further clarification and guidance. From September 2017 any holidays in term time, that are unauthorised, may incur a penalty notice, regardless of the child’s overall attendance percentage. This information is displayed in school and reminders given in newsletters and on the school website.